It’s been just over a week since I attended the Garden Party hosted by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. And everyone who knew I was attending has been eager to know ‘how it went’. Well, it went brilliantly. It rained off and on , but that negative was offset by the beauty of the gardens, the absolutely wonderful sandwiches (if you’ve never tried cucumber and mint you really should but remember to cut off the crusts), the refreshing cups of tea and the fact that I was there amongst Army Generals, Ships Captains, Chief Constables and perhaps more relevant, leaders of scouts and girls guides groups, St John Ambulance personnel and other volunteers whose efforts were being acknowledged.
And that word is important. I didn’t accept the invitation to attend the event because I considered it to be a reward for my volunteering with the Pernicious Anaemia Society. I don’t want rewards – I want recognition. The invitation was in recognition of the efforts that people put into their vocations and volunteering. And there were plenty of people attending whose efforts had brought about change in some aspect of society. But the reason why I was there was to bring about even more acknowledgement that the Pernicious Anaemia Society is a credible patient support group whose work, not my work, but the work of the society is acknowledged by wider society. It’s another bit of credibility that I welcomed with open arms.
And no – I didn’t meet her; in fact all that I saw was the top of a pink hat bobbing along through the crowds. But it didn’t matter – the fact that I was invited to represent the Pernicious Anaemia Society was enough.
There are no photographs. The invitation made it clear that cameras and camera phones were not to be used. That didn’t stop around half of those invited to record the event. And so you’ll have to make do with this short written account of the day. Now remember – sliced cucumber and four to six mint leaves per sandwich and off with those crusts…..